Had a chance to try out two of the top portable flash packs. Profoto vs Broncolor. Many of you will instantly recognize the name of Profoto since they are widely distributed and rented. You see them almost everywhere. Some very good equipment to aspire to.
Broncolor on the other hand isn't as widely distributed in the rental arena. Hopefully this will change in the future as the Bron packs have been outstanding.
The Profoto B4 and the Broncolor Move 1200L are the latest entries into the portable flash studio pack realm. Both are very good and one can get into flash duration times, quality of light, etc and they'd be still very close. However, there are a few problems with the profoto.
1. Display button for the Profoto has to be pushed several times to scroll through battery level, power level (w/s), flash duration. The broncolor Move pack you can see everything on the screen at a glance without having to push buttons. Profoto? They probably were trying to get away with the "less is more" appearance approach. Takes precious seconds away from the shoot. Winner...BRONCOLOR.
2. Battery level indicator. With the Profoto, you get a 3 segment readout. Broncolor - multiple segment readout and a better guage of when the battery will run out. Winner - BRONCOLOR.
3. This one is a MAJOR problem. Say you're in the middle of a shoot and the battery runs out. With the Broncolor, just swap out the battery. Replace. ALL settings are retained and you're ready to rock. Profoto - EVERYTHING is reset. You have to remember the levels of power that you're using and have to dial them in. Yes profoto - you're losing points on this one.
4. Compatibility. Profoto - you can only use the PRO line heads. If you're upgrading or trying to use the acute series (entry level), profoto leaves you behind and scoffs at you. Broncolor...you can use virtually any head combination since 1972. Winner - Broncolor.
5. In Speed mode (shortest flash duration times) the Profoto is limited to 50 watt seconds using one outlet. The broncolor in speed mode can be used at up to 600 watt seconds. Huge difference of 3 1/2 stops over profoto. Winner - Broncolor.
More to follow. But, Profoto really dropped the ball on this one. Profoto is a 1000ws pack, Bron is a 1200ws. The profoto is heavier and their power supplies are less efficient than Bron.
If you're starting off new, go with the Bron. If you can put up with the time sapping features of profoto, then go with the profoto. Profoto really has some bugs to work out.
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Another thing that is important is how well a power pack, especially a battery supplied one, manages the energy source. With the profoto, there are no provisions to dial in a auto shut off time as it's set for 30 minutes. Broncolor - auto shut off after 15 to 120 minutes of inactivity, user adjustable. Points to Broncolor on this one.
Remember that I shoot with multiple different systems. Profoto, Broncolor and Briese. The Profoto units are good, but they're not built with the same technology or finesse that the Broncolor has. Briese - great for the lighting modifiers but their flash packs and power supplies leave a bit to be desired.
As soon as I get a Bron move 1200L pack for long term usage, I'll update this thread.